This time, the Texas Rangers held on to an early lead against the Yankees -- and headed to New York tied 1-1 in their American League Championship Series.
The Rangers, who blew a five-run lead in Game 1, took a five-run lead again today and went on to win 7-2 for the first postseason home victory in club history.
Colby Lewis, who was dumped by three Major League Baseball teams in 2007 and then spent 2008-2009 in Japan, got the win for Texas by allowing two runs in 5 2-3 innings.
“We just knew what we needed to do,” Lewis said in a news conference. “We had two games here at home. We just needed to come out today and split and go back to their place, plain and simple.”
Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is set for Oct. 18, with the Rangers’ Cliff Lee facing the Yankees’ Andy Pettitte in a battle of left-handed starters.
The National League Championship Series opened tonight in Philadelphia with a highly anticipated pitching matchup. The Phillies started Roy Halladay, who pitched a no-hitter in the divisional sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, against two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants.
The Rangers entered the game with a 0-7 record at home in the postseason and a 10-game postseason losing streak to the Yankees -- who defeated Texas in the AL playoffs in 1996, 1998 and 1999.
Lewis, 31, has had a long journey from first-round draft choice of the Rangers in 1999 to a postseason winner. He was waived by the Rangers in 2004 after having rotator cuff surgery, and then released or waived by the Washington Nationals, Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals in 2007. He then spent two seasons in Japan with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp before rejoining the Rangers.
Texas opened the scoring in the first inning when Elvis Andrus reached base on an infield single, moved to second on a wild pitch by Phil Hughes and then stole third and home -- the latter swipe coming as part of a double steal.
The Rangers added two runs in the second inning on a solo home run by David Murphy and a run-scoring double by Michael Young. They made it 5-0 in the third on RBI doubles by Murphy and Bengie Molina.
Hughes, who won 18 games during the regular season, allowed seven runs on 10 hits and three walks in four innings. The night before, New York starter CC Sabathia allowed five runs on six hits and four walks in four innings.
“Our starters have not pitched well so far,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said in a news conference. “I believe in our guys and I believe that they will pitch well as we continue forward here.”
New York scored its first run in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Lance Berkman, only to have Texas respond with two runs in the fifth on an RBI triple by Ian Kinsler and a run-scoring single by Mitch Moreland.
The Yankees’ Robinson Cano hit a solo home run, his second in as many games, in the sixth to make it 7-2.
Neither team scored after the sixth inning, leaving the Yankees with a 16-0 cumulative advantage in runs starting in the seventh inning in the 12 playoff games between the teams. That includes a 12-inning game in 1996.
The Rangers also had a 5-0 lead last night, only to have the Yankees score one in the seventh inning and five in the eighth to win 6-5.
“When you get to this point of the season, you can’t let one night affect the next,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said in a news conference. “That’s what it’s all about.”